19 April 2017

From the Couch to the Courtroom

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Is our legal system becoming too influenced by the culture of psychotherapy – of achieving ‘closure’ in the courtroom, emotional release and catharsis, working through trauma – ideas extraneous to law and the proper purpose of the courts, even threatening the adversarial system as a whole? Or have insights drawn from psychiatry and psychoanalysis added much-needed depth to law’s own understanding of the human psyche?

Drawing on a range of expertise – judicial and psychoanalytic, from neuroscience and forensic psychiatry to historians of mental health and champions of the ‘victim’s voice’ in court – Helena Kennedy examines the deep and sometimes uneasy relationship between law (especially the criminal law) psychotherapy and the mind doctors, and asks what its proper purpose might be.

Contributors include: psychotherapist Adam Phillips, former Lord Justice of Appeal Alan Moses, forensic psychiatrist Nigel Eastman, writer and historian Lisa Appignanesi, Victims Commissioner Baroness Newlove and Harvard neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett.